Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015 - Sweet 16!

Hola familia y amigos, 

Yep that's right, today is my sweet 16, I complete 16 months in the mission! 

I'm pleased to report that this week nothing crazy happened! There were no freak accidents, injuries, dog drama or hospital visits. It was a normal, average week in the life of a missionary. 

On Monday I passed the day with the hermanas lideres and worked with them in their sector. It was great to be able to work without holding back for my foot or my knee. The doctor in the clinic told me I'm good to go with my spider bites. They have already formed into nice little scars that I will have for the rest of my life. It will be a great mission story. I was talking to our ward mission leader the other day and he said that you haven't served a mission in Latin America until you have a scar somewhere to prove it! haha. 

On Tuesday Hna Torres and I reunited and it felt so good haha. I saw Hna Pinto in the bus terminal! She's doing great and loves Chiloe but she said there are tons of hills to climb and the house they live in is haunted.  Other than that she`s good. It was great to see her and hang out with her and Hna Torres for a little bit. Two Colombians together is a real show. 

On Tuesday we were also able to contact 4 cute old grandpas that have known eachother for over 50 years and meet up at the same park bench everyday in the plaza at about 7pm. We made plans to come visit them the next day to teach them the Plan of Salvation and bring them cookies but it rained all week so they didn't meet up outside.... Today it's sunny so we`re hoping to find them again haha. 

We also contacted a 22 year old girl with her 4 year old son in the plaza, At first she  didn't want anything to do with us but then she opened up when she heard Hna Torres speak because she loves the Colombian accent. Hna Torres has a very unique way of speaking and it really calls people's attention. We talked with the girl, Pamela, for a while and made plans to visit her in a couple days, she was really cool. We took a selfie with her haha. 

On Thursday we called the same Pamela to see if we could come visit her, she said she was at a friend's house but told us to come over because her friend  wanted to meet us too and hear Hna Torres 'accent. So we found Vanesa's house and they let us in and were super nice and fun and Hna Torres made them arepas from Colombia. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was super strong; it was an awesome lesson! They were super receptive. We set up another day to come back. 
What's super cool is that Pamela is a cousin of a member family in the ward. 

on friday we did service and helped our mamita cecilia do yard work in her patio. dad, thanks for always making me do yard work when i really didn't want to. now i understand why you always said that we had to do it so we would learn to work hard. thanks for not letting me be lazy (even though i was still pretty lazy)

We taught the familia F and our RM friend Aldo came to the lesson. It was great because their 22 year old son who works Puerto Montt was there and Aldo was able to build confidence with him and the rest of the family. Hna Torres made her famous arepas rellenas and Colombian hot chocolate. Delicious. I want to visit Colombia one day. We taught the familia F about the Book of Mormon. They`re struggling with their progression, we feel that we are running around in circles with them. 

Saturday we planned a family home evening for the whole branch and investigators and friends and we were going to watch  the movie Meet the Mormons... but in the end only 5 people came and they were all members and we couldn't get the movie to stream.  We had an awesome lesson about the Atonement and watched Mormon Messages instead. 

Our investigator M had a baptismal date for the December 5th and then she had to work last Sunday and couldn't come to church so her date fell through, We put her back on for December 12th... but she didn't come to church yesterday either. We even called and reminded her a billion times and called and woke her up in the morning and we offered to go pick her up but she said no she would come alone ... but then never showed up. So her date fell through again. We are feeling a little exasperated but we have faith and determination that this woman will be baptized! 

Our mamita served us pasta with red sauce three times this week and then we ate the same thing with members yesterday. We don't want to eat pasta ever again haha. 

Yesterday we contacted a lady who was really nice and we talked with her about the Plan of Salvation and we were about to ask her when we could come back to teach her when she realized we were Mormon missionaries... turns out she's a less active member who was baptized years back and became less active because the Branch President said something that offended her. We listened to her rant for about 20 minutes about how mad she was and how she swore never to come back to the Mormon Church. It was sad.... it hurt my heart. We tried to explain to her that Christ's church is perfect, but the people in it are not.  She wouldn't listen. You would think that after 16 months of hearing lots of stories like that, it would stop hurting, but it doesn't, you just get used to it. But i'ts okay, I've learned that we should never let anything get in the way of our personal salvation. 

Overall it was a good week. We are struggling to have more support from the members. We planned to have a mini training for the members in how to help the missionaries but they never gave us time to do it. We have some good ideas to get the members pumped. 

It wasn't a very exciting week, thank goodness, so there really isn't anything super interesting to write. We didn't celebrate Thanksgiving, I tried to get Hna Torres and other people excited about it, but they didn't really get it. We did eat arepas with the familia F... so it was kind of the same thing. I missed my family dearly on Thursday and thought of you all a lot (without getting too trunky) 

Something that I've learned on my mission is: if you`re not happy, work harder. We are never in a standstill moment, if we are not progressing, improving, we are moving backwards. We should always strive to be better every single day, which comes with hard work and dedication. I bear testimony that God lives, His Son Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that this is their work. I am grateful to be a missionary. 

love, Hermana Williams

Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 25, 2015 - Trio

Hola familia y amigos, 

Just so you all know, I went to the clinic today for my treatments and they told me my foot is healed and good to go and I don't need to come back for more treatments and I can walk again yay! I have three little nasty wounds that will turn into little scars. Cool mission story. But I can go back to being a normal missionary! It healed in only 1 week which is really fast, miracles yay! 

Monday and Tuesday we still had to stay inside the house. We did splits with some members so we were still able to visit and teach our investigators. Team work! 

I had to walk around on crutches for a couple days to avoid using my foot so much. It was awful. My arms died. I have a big nasty bruise on my left arm. my whole body hurt after the first day. I swore to never use crutches again. 

I'm typing right now and I just SAW A SPIDER CRAWL ACROSS THE DESK I'M FREAKING OUT okay sorry I have a phobia. 

But anyways, on Wednesday we had a family home evening with our investigator M and her husband and 2 year old daughter. It went really well. We taught about forever families and how she can be with her family for eternity. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted! She`s on date for December 5th! We`re super excited for her. Her husband is less active member and we committed him to help her towards her goal and to prepare to receive the priesthood so he can baptize her. We celebrated with brownies and then their 2 yr old daughter peed on the floor.... the fun ended and we left haha. 

We had to go to curaciones on Wednesday and I went with my crutches. We had to wait outside at a bus stop in front of the hospital across the street. And I saw my old doctor, Dr. Garcia in the window. He helped me with my knee and then he left the clinic and I never saw him again. But we were able to communicate with hand signs through the window. He saw me with crutches and threw his hands up in the air as if to ask "what did you do this time!?" hahaha made my day. 

On Thursday I ditched the crutches. We had district meeting and we celebrated Hna Kogianes birthday, she's still in my district. She and Hermana Braithwaite also completed 6 months in the mission this week! Shout out to Hna. Braithwaite! Congrats!

Hna Torres and I both have been nursing a cold this week. I got pretty bad on Thursday but now I'm much better. 

On Saturday Hna Torres had to travel to Puerto Montt because Sunday she had a flight from the airport there scheduled to go to Santiago. She`s Colombian and all the Colombian missionaries have to renew their second visas in Santiago. She comes back on Tuesday .Maybe she`ll see Scottie while she`s there. 

she left me with the hermanas leaders in osorno, hna call and hna davila. and now we are in a trio! three missionaries instead of 2. its crazy. we`re not used to it. its hard to stay all together. on saturday the hermanas had a baptism so i got to go to that and i sang in a special musical number with hna davila, that was fun. we sounded good together. sunday i went to church with them, it was weird being in a big ward again instead of my little branch in san pablo. we`re going to be in trio until tomorrow in the afternoon when hna torres gets back. 

it is fun though, more people to talk to. its like a big party and i feel more powerful when we walk down the street haha. 

well that's all I really have to tell this week, Not much. next week will be better because I`ll actually be able to work normally. Thanks for all your prayers. 

In the morning I was reading in the book of mormon in Ether chapter 2 and 3 and I learned about the importance of personal prayer and receiving revelation. It says in ether 3:2 that it's a commandment to pray in order to receive personal revelation. Heavenly Father doesn't just want us to tell Him how our day went, or just give thanks, He wants us to ask, seek, search for what we need in our lives. for revelation that He is more than willing to give us, we only have to ask.  Sometimes the Lord asks us what we want Him to do. Sometimes the Lord wants us to show our faith, solve problems, look for solutions not excuses and He will help us know if its what we should do. That is personal revelation. 

I testify that God answers prayers, He loves us, He wants to hear from us. He is  a God of miracles and I am so grateful to be part of His great and marvelous work. I know Jesus Christ lives, He is our Savior. 

Love, hermana williams

November 16, 2015- Crazy Mission Stories

Hola familia y amigos! 

This week has been the craziest week of my mission... I`ll let you know why. I've decided to split this email up into titled parts. 

The Normal Stuff: part 1 
Hna. Torres and I are adjusting to each other and enjoying our cambio. She`s a lot of fun and she loves to talk about her returned missionary boyfriend that's waiting for her at home haha, sometimes it's a little trunky but very entertaining. I hope I get to end my mission with her. On Monday my knee started hurting real bad, I don't know why, so we had to take a couple minutes in the house to rest and ice it and afterwards I was fine.  Other than that I didn't have any problems this past week. 

We were able to go out to work Monday and teach our new investigator O, she`s really nice and really open to listening and becoming closer to God. It was a great lesson and we made it all the way to prophets.... but then there was an interruption... 

Johnnie & Rambo:part 1 was edited due to content.  Hna. Williams and Torrez were at a lesson with their investigator, O.  The two dogs were outside during the lesson.  They killed O's neighbor's pregnant cat and the rest wasn't pretty.  Everyone was traumatized.

Johnnie & Rambo: part 2
okay you might think this story is a little was a lack of good judgment, good intentions, but ended very complicated... 
The next day we had heard that at the same local animal hospital they were doing free sterilizations of pets and stray dogs and we thought it would be a good idea to take Johnnie to see if they could fix up his leg. I honestly don't know what we were thinking, at the time we thought it was a great idea, that it would only take 20- 30 minutes..... nope we were there waiting for an hour when finally they told us they would only look at Johnnie's leg if we were going to get him fixed( sterilized)... they convinced us that it would be a good idea to get them both fixed, Johnnie and Rambo, that they would be calmer afterwards and not chase after so many cats. we thought, ya! wow great idea! So we talked to Johnnie and Rambos supposed owner and he was all for it! So we thought, ya! Servicio! drop off the dogs at the clinic, pick them up later, half an hour maximum! Wrong.... 

We took Johnnie and Rambo to the clinic ,Johnnie went in just fine but Rambo is big so they had to tranquilize him and put a leash and collar on him and he started freaking out, it looked like he was having a seizure! He bit the leg of one of the workers! We called out returned missionary friend Aldo who has helped up with Johnnie and Rambo to see if he could come and carry Rambo inside because he has more confidence in Aldo. so aldo came running but then another guy was able to calm Rambo down and carry him inside.... so we called Aldo and told him not to come, and that we owed him ice cream for all the trouble. 

Two hours later the clinic called us to say that our dogs were ready. We called Aldo again to help us carry Rambo. We arrived and Johnnie came out just fine but Rambo was traumatized. We had to coax and drag him outside and when he was out he sprinted away towards home... he was super scared. so Aldo carried Johnnie and we went to talk to the owner.... turns out the fixing was free but you have to buy them medicine and clean their wounds and we don't have time for that so we explained everything to the owner but he didn't do anything.... so now we`re worried that Johnnie and Rambo will die from infection... but I think they are okay. 

So thats a crazy mission story... we sterilized two dogs.... I don't know what we were thinking. 

Bad luck part 1: Spider Woman

On Wednesday we had a normal day and we worked and it was great. In the afternoon we had to go to the house to do our progress form and I sat down to call someone and felt something sting me on my ankle and it itched really bad. I thought, oh no pulgas! fleas! So I itched and scratched but it hurt so bad that I took off my boot and tights and saw 4 big red bumps come up on my ankle and heel. and a little bubble blister appeared! Hna Torres said it wasn't pulgas it was a spider bite! We didn't find the spider but I didn't freak out too much because I didn't think a spider bite could do much. We went about the day and the blister got bigger and bigger and burned and it hurt to walk. 

We had  a meeting with our ward mission leader and I asked him about spider bites and he told me I should call our mission nurse asap because it might be the Rincon spider, a deadly poisonous spider here in Chile. So then I  started freaking out. I called the nurse but she didn't answer. We went about with the rest of the day. We had a noche de hogar with M and  M and Hna Torres made arepas!  We came home at night and the blister had doubled in size and filled with yellow liquid. 

The nurse finally called me at 10:55pm and I explained what happened. she was about to send me to the nearest hospital asap to make sure it wasn't Rincon. But I explained more details, I didn't have any of the symptoms or anything so we decided to wait till morning. But she said if I start to feel a fever during the night, to call her, because I might be dying.... I didn't sleep very well haha. 

In the morning I took a look at my ankle and there were 4 big blisters and they hurt super bad! So I called out branch president and his wife and they drove us to Osorno the the clinic so I could  see a doctor. My ankle and foot was super swollen and it hurt to walk. The doctor said that it was a spider that bit me, but not a rincon or anything like that.  Yes the spider had venom and it's sitting in my ankle and if I walk to much my foot will swell up more and the bites will become infected.  I promise its nothing dangerous, I am not going to die or lose a foot or anything. 

They treated my ankle, broke and cleaned out the blisters - that hurt really bad. Bandaged me up, gave me pain meds and antibiotics and sent me home to rest. I've been in house rest since Thursday. I can't go out to work or walk or anything .I returned to the clinic on Friday to do a blood and urine exam and everything came out okay. They cleaned out my wounds again and it hurt so bad I cried. It's like a stinging, burning pain.... like my ankle is on fire. 

Bad luck part 2 

So I'm in the house again! At least until this Wednesday. I have to take tons of pills and rest and try not to walk. I have a big fat bandage and I can only take baths now, I cant get my left foot wet. My foot is so swollen and tender that I can only wear my slipper... so I've moved from tennis shoes to one slipper! The mission nurse gave me crutches today to help me walk, it's only so I don't put too much weight in my foot and so I can walk around to meetings and stuff. it's not a big deal! We`ve been receiving lots of help from members, driving us around, bringing us food, we were able to do splits on Saturday and Hna Torres went out with a member and I stayed inside the house of another. Our RM friend Aldo has been stopping by to do us favors, chop firewood, drop off our laundry. . 

We have been studying the scriptures a ton.I feel bad for Hna Torres to keep her inside, but shes a good sport. We have been trying to spider proof our house this week. I officially have a phobia of spiders. But we`re doing just fine! 

The Normal Stuff part 2

I was still able to go to church on Sunday, with my slipper and everything! We had the Primary program. it's funnier in Chile because kids here are crazy. I had more treatments today in the clinic. the clinic is my home away from home. I am a little frustrated that we can't go out to work but I`ve decided to have a good attitude. I am trying really hard to follow all of the doctors orders so that the wounds don't get infected or else I'll be in the house even longer. 

When I went to the clinic the first time and they told me I couldn't walk the thought came that I have 2 choices: I can get really sad and depressed and have my own pity party for being in the house again.... or I can have a good attitude, have enough faith and hope that everything will turn out okay and that this is just another part of God's plan. I thought to myself, "look, another chance to prove yourself" I feel like I spent a lot of time with my knee moping about and whining and this time I'm going to use my time better, study harder, be humble, prepare myself so that way when I can leave to work, I can work super hard. I have faith that it will all be okay. The Lord tried and healed me once, He can do it again. 

So don't worry about me! Prayers are needed but I know that in a couple days I`ll be fine. I'm thankful that it wasn't worse and that I'm still alive haha. I know that God knows me, He watches over me, He will help me through this. I am His daughter, and even more, I am His servant and His soldier and the Lord needs strong soldiers. 

Thanks for all the love and support and prayers everyday! love you all!. 

love, hermana williams

November 9, 2015 - Su Merced

Hola familia y amigos, 
Hermana Williams and her newest companion, Hermana Torrez

Okay I know you`re all dying from the suspense so I`ll let you know who my new companion is.... Hermana Torrez from Colombia. Thats right, another Colombiana.  I'm really excited because she`s more Colombian than Hna Pinto. Hna Pinto had already lost her accent and acted more like a Chileana.  Hermana Torrez in one hundred percent Colombian. She has 10 months in the mission, the same group as Hna Pinto. She is super energetic and talks really fast, but she talks clearly, so I can still understand her. She uses a lot of words from Colombia. For example, they use a more formal word than 'usted' when talking to people. They use 'su merced' which means 'you' but really formal. When she first started talking to me I had no idea what 'su merced' was. I was like "who is she talking about?" who is su merced?" She had to explain it to me. So all week it has been su merced. It's starting to stick. 

 This week was really good and busy and fast. Monday and Tuesday was crazy trying to make sure Hna Pinto said goodbye to everyone. She was only here for 6 weeks and everyone was super surprised that she was leaving. She still managed to form some close ties with the members so it was hard for her to leave. On Wednesday morning we were told to take the bus to Osorno and we had to haul her suitcases up to the highway which is about a 20 minutes walk at normal pace. But her suitcases were so heavy that we had to call a ward member, the strongest hermano we knew, to come help us. It was a show. 

We made it to the bus terminal in Osorno in the morning and we had to wait for the bus to Chiloe for 2 hours. I saw Hna Espinoza and Hna Jenkins and tons of other missionaries I know. I was hoping to see Hna Braithwaite, but I missed her. It looks like she got changed to Los lagos, close to Valdivia and she`s not with Hna Smoot now. 

Hna Pinto left for Chiloe and my companion, Hna Torrez arrived half an hour later. She is a very fun, dramatic person and I felt very overwhelmed when she greeted me haha. But we`ve been getting along really well and having lots of fun and working really hard. 

We taught lessons, found new people, contacted, worked, the usual. 

On Sunday we committed the familia F to come to church so we showed up early with breakfast ready for them so they wouldn't have an excuse not to come (i.e. "oh we just woke up, we haven't eaten yet,I have to cook..".) they got a kick out of it, and they came to church, it was awesome. 

We had ward council and as a branch we`re trying to focus on 4 of our investigators in particular: familia F, M and our mamita cecilia. they need prayers! 

My knee is okay. there are still days when it hurts. Today it hurts but its never so much pain like before. I can still work and walk, just a little slower. I get more hip pain now too. 

I'm really excited to be with Hermana Torrez. She knows a ton about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and she`s helping me get more excited to study and learn more to help me teach better. She has a lot of really good fun ideas to help the work progress that aren't just knock doors for three hours. She`s helping me to be humble, to remember that yeah, I have 15 months but I still need to learn, study and improve everyday. 

I'm really grateful for all the experiences that the Lord has given me in my mission and all the people he has placed in my life. I'm grateful for the chance I have to serve Him every single day. And I don't plan to stop after my mission is over. I want to serve Him in every single day of my life. People always told me before the mission that this is the greatest work you can do with your life at this moment... and now I understand why. I thank my Heavenly Father every day. 

Have a great week everyone! 

love, hermana williams

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November 2, 2015- 15 Months

Hola familia y amigos, 

This week went by unbelievably fast. We did a ton but I can't remember everything. 

On Monday we had a noche de hogar with one of our menos activos that's been reactivated, She`s awesome. She also came to our stake conference on Sunday in Osorno and she brought her two little babies. 

On Tuesday all of San Pablo was freaking out because three times there were military fighter jets that flew over the city. No one had any idea why, but of course everyone was talking about all sorts of government schemes. Our mammita,  hna Cecilia got real heated and rambled to us for half an hour straight. We taught our investigator M the same day and right in the middle of the lesson there was another airplane and they were super loud. 

On Tuesday I also received a call from Hna Braithwaite calling from Hna Obeso's cell phone!  We were right in the middle of a lesson so I could only talk for 2 minutes and I had to contain my excitement in front of M. But it was so good to talk to her!

We`ve been trying to heal Johnnie all week. He survived! But we do have to give him pain meds and clean out his wound everyday, or at least try to. A member here named Aldo, who just got back from his mission in Mexico has been helping us out with Johnnie. Rambo gets really jealous when we pay too much attention to Johnnie so we need one person to hold Johnnie down, the other to clean out his wound and the other to entertain Rambo. Johnnie can't follow us around anymore but Rambo is loyal, and he`s actually calmed down a lot. 

We had our branch Halloween activity on Friday night! Hna Pinto dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and I went as Snow White (they were the easiest costumes we could think of.) The activity went well, but the hermano who was in charge of games forgot so we had to think of games on the spot.  In the end it was super fun.  I made a big platter of brownies. Members here are obsessed with brownies. 

We did a lot of service this week,which always involves chopping firewood. I cant remember if I already told you, but I finally learned to chop firewood! Hna Pinto taught me- it's super fun. So I did that a lot this week.We also trimmed the grass of our landlord. People here don't own lawn mowers, you have to cut your grass with big scissors. 

on saturday we contacted a woman who started preaching to us about the end of the world and the second coming of christ. we tried to share with her but she talked for a good half an hour quoting the bible and then started crying because the end is near.... i admired her passion. 

we had stake conference this weekend! it was great! our stake president is super young and energetic. it was a great conference that really focused on members and missionary work. love it. 

This week I completed 15 months in the mission. Wow. Hna Pinto surprised me and made me breakfast and sang quinceaƱera songs all morning. 

This week we have cambios. Hna Pinto is leaving me and going to the Island of Chiloe and I am staying here in San Pablo. I still don't know who my companion is, I'm waiting for the zone leaders to call and let me know. More suspense!

I'm really grateful to be a missionary! I love being a servant of the Lord, I know that this is His church and His work and I cant do it without His help everyday. I know that Heavenly Father is a God of miracles. 

Thanks for the emails and photos and support, 

love, Hermana Williams